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how do I encrypt a whole folder

by Bue28 / August 15, 2008 9:26 PM PDT

I need help with encrypting a whole folder or even a whole USB flash disk, please help me.

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In what?
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 15, 2008 9:30 PM PDT

Which OS, XP, Vista, Mac OS? Which one?

Did you see that red message above the posting box? It says;

"Note: If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem".

If you cannot see that please tell us so we can report the fault to CNET's forum admin.


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Don't do it man!
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 16, 2008 12:24 AM PDT

I can't count how many times this month people have brought us drives or folders that were encrypted that want to get back in.

-> Given how much loss I'm seeing it's best you don't do this.

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Do it if you need it
by albizzia / August 23, 2008 11:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Don't do it man!

I can't help wondering if some of those bringing in encrypted files and hoping you could hack into them were really not the legitimate owners. Maybe they were trying to find out what their spouse or child or employee is hiding, or worse, maybe they just stole it and hope to get some personal info they can misuse for fun and profit.

Seems to me that if anyone encrypts a file, they'd better be sure not to loose/forget the decryption key or the program used to encrypt/decrypt the files.

There are several programs that can encrypt individual files or complete folders. Some archiving programs can also encrypt while compressing several files into a single archive file. It is possible to first compress a folder into a single archive file, then encrypt that archive file, of course, that means taking two steps - first decrypting then "unzipping" the archive in order to read it.

IIRC, Win XP Professional has a provision to encrypt files and folders, and I was considering an upgrade just for that feature. I'm not sure if that is included in any versions of Vista.

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Do you mean EFS?
by John.Wilkinson / August 23, 2008 11:07 AM PDT
In reply to: Do it if you need it

That's the only encryption feature offered by XP Professional, but is exceptionally weak and requires that you import your EFS key onto any computer which you wish to use to access your files. Thus, you won't be able to just access the files on your flash drive using a friend's/library's computer, but for $99 I can purchase a program that will give me access to all of your files in less than 10 minutes. It's also part of Vista Business/Enterprise/Ultimate, but EFS isn't worth the upgrade or the trouble.


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Check out TrueCrypt...
by John.Wilkinson / August 16, 2008 1:58 AM PDT

You cannot encrypt the folder, but you can create a TrueCrypt (free) container and place all of the files in it. You can then copy the container around like a file, and "mount" it so that you access your files through their own unique drive letter. (X:\My Encrypted Files\plans.txt)You can install it on your own PC and/or place it into Traveler Mode so you can run it off of a flash drive. Note, however, that you can never recover your password should you forget it and that you must have administrative privileges on the computer you're using to access those files.

Hope this helps,

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encrypt folder
by johnorford / August 22, 2008 2:50 PM PDT
In reply to: Check out TrueCrypt...

I like simple things on computers and I only use XP. I encrypt folders by zipping them up, then splitting them (I use WINSplit) into a single file containing the data and a small file to restore the split. I then encrypt the restoration file, using RJH Extensions. If you are trying to fool the CIA or Mossad, this might not do of course, but it keeps me happy.

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Free SecureZip
by john55440 / August 23, 2008 6:44 AM PDT
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Go into Properties
by GENE8 / August 24, 2008 3:38 AM PDT

To encrypt a folder you must right-click on it. Then you left-click on Properties, and then in the General Tab you left-click on Advanced. In the Advanced box, you simply select the "Encrypt contents to secure data" option at the bottom. After that, the folder will be unreadable to everyone but you (the administrator). Just make sure that you log off as an administrator BEFORE you allow someone else to use your computer. If you don't, then the computer will assume that the other user is YOU (the administrator)and will allow that person to read your encrypted folder if they try to.

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I would be very cautious about this procedure!
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 24, 2008 3:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Go into Properties

This is the Windows EFS encryption. Whilst it certainly encrypts files and folders, there are drawbacks and limitations.

1] The Limitation.

EFS will only work on a hard drive that has been formatted to NTFS. If it is in FAT32 format, EFS will not work.

2] Drawbacks.

The one major drawback is backing up the encryption certificate. Too many people don't do this, and if their hard drive then begins to fail and they transfer their files to another hard drive, they need that certificate. Without it the folder/file cannot be opened. If the hard drive fails before they can backup their certificate, that folder/file becomes unusable.

This Microsoft Knowledge Based article explains more at "Why you must back up your certificates".

The advice normally given in these forums is, "Don't use EFS".


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EFS makes this company a lot of money.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 24, 2008 4:58 AM PDT
In reply to: Go into Properties

www.lostpassword.com must get about a third of its income from EFS recovery.

There's a free lesson here.

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by storm-2009 / October 21, 2009 12:07 PM PDT

USB Stick Encryption is especially designed to create password protected USB memory sticks. It creates protected areas on the disk that is needed to enter password to see contents. Data on the protected areas are encypted by 256-bit AES on-the-fly encryption. Protected USB stick is fully autonomous and does not need any special software installed on computer.

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